The largest risk factors for homelessness for the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community are family rejection resulting from sexual orientation or gender identity, running away from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, aging out of the foster care system, and financial and emotional neglect. Family rejection alone accounts for such a large percentage of homeless LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth. All the risk factors are ongoing and until we can change public perception of the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community, enact better discriminatory laws, and educate the general population and gain further acceptance, LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit homelessness will continue with each generation.
While searching for housing, in shelters, and on the streets, LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth disproportionately endure harassment, stigmatization, and abuse from peers and even shelter staff because of their sexual orientation and/or gender expression, further adding to trauma. LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth find it difficult to find housing and often are asked to leave shelters after revealing their sexual or gender identity. As a result of harassment and negative experiences in shelters, LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth are especially vulnerable to living on the streets, physical and sexual exploitation, experience high rates of conduct disorder, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal behavior.
This is why LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit targeted services are so very important to statistically change the numbers. Family rejection doesn’t change quickly, and for some, never — negative and or lack of representation in media, advertising, work environments, all continue to add up to LGBTQ+ youth being overrepresented among the homeless. LGBTQ and Two Spirit youth account for 40% of the total unaccompanied homeless youth population, even though they make up to 10 percent of the overall youth population.
When our most vulnerable need assistance, we support and wrap them in affirming community.
The future Drop-In Center is designed to meet the needs of all youth and be welcoming and affirming for all youth, including LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth, and adults seeking services, ranging from access to food, medical services, mental health services, housing stability and much more.
With no targeted services available for homeless youth and adults, we've designed and began work to provide a Drop-In Center that allows those in need to have a safe, affirming supportive space with access to life-saving services, referrals, and community.
For youth 18-24, including LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth and adults seeking targeted homeless support, we have designed emergency crisis, transitional, and rapid rehousing in a home-based setting, complete with homecooked meals, private bedrooms, and shared living space to promote support, affirmation, and community connections.
With stabilized housing, and supportive services and programs, youth and adults are able to overcome challenges, and achieve independent housing in the future.
GED preparatory courses available on site, so that those without a diploma may continue their education, and with support pass their High School Equivalency exam.
Participation in job training and placement begins with assessments to prepare career development. While preparing for employment, youth and adults also learn life skills such as resume prep, budgeting, interview skills, and time management.
Youth and adults are then either employed through resources then move into paid internships at one of our corporate or non-profit partners, developing their employment history. Youth graduate from LEAP when they’ve secured a job.
Through cash incentives, continuous support, and mentorship, young people receive the fundamental tools necessary for employment and success later in life.
Affirming supportive care
Physical and Wellness Care
HIV/STD/STI testing and counseling
Mental Health Assessment
Provision of PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis) for a patient at risk for HIV
Provision of PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) for a patient at risk for HIV